Snap Lays Off Researchers in Co-Founder Bobby Murphy's Group

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February 8, 2019

Snap Inc. laid off five employees as part of a restructuring of its research group this week, according to people familiar with the matter. The five employees were part of a team led by Bobby Murphy, Snap's co-founder, chief technology officer, and second largest individual shareholder.

Snap also recently asked managers to institute a so-called "performance improvement plan" (PIP) for employees who are classified as low performers, the people said. Being put on a PIP means that affected employees have a limited amount of time to improve their work before they are fired, and people familiar with the plan at Snap say it will likely lead to further attrition in the company's ranks throughout 2019.

A Snap spokesman confirmed the five layoffs and PIP plans when contacted by Cheddar on Thursday. The spokesman added that Snap also initiated a PIP plan for employees in 2018.

The cuts to the research group, which numbers less than 40 employees, come after Snap's director of research, David Salesin, left the company in December 2018. Instead of managing Snap's hundreds of engineers, Murphy oversees the small research group and a couple of other teams that total less than 80 employees.

Murphy's research group works on more futuristic endeavours, such as augmented reality. The company's much larger engineering workforce is led by former Amazon executive Jerry Hunter, who joined Snap in late 2016.

Snap's stock soared earlier this week on better than expected earnings. But the company has yet to turn a profit. CEO Evan Spiegel has said he wants Snap to reach profitability in 2019.

Snap had 2,884 employees as of December 31, 2018, according to a recent filing with the SEC. The company shed more than 200 hundred employees globally last year through multiple rounds of layoffs.